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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: Village Taphouse on April 06, 2020, 09:33:54 pm

Title: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 06, 2020, 09:33:54 pm
So hopfenundmalz posted a nice article in the Travel section and the article talks about a brewer (Eric Toft at Schonram brewery in Bavaria) who likes his step mashing techniques.  He also mentioned that he "doesn't like EASY" which is bittersweet for me because I generally do not have a lot of extra time to brew.  Toft also does decoctions on his beer which I am not going to attempt now.  But I am asking those of you here if you have found a good step mashing procedure that will create a bit drier finish in something like a helles or dortmunder or pilsner.  Also, I do not have a direct-fired mash vessel so I would have to do this by adding boiling water a bit at a time.  His mash is outlined in the article but the durations are not there... so it's 118° and then between 122° and 131° and then 140° and finally 149°.  But the time spent at each step is not there.  I have no problem hearing from those who have tried step mashing and found no difference.  Also, I have heard that some people use highly-modified malt and do step mashes and find themselves with beer that is not as good as their single-infusion beers (cloudy, no head formation, etc) so I don't want that either.  At the moment I have a partial sack of Avangard Pilsner and I have an unopened 55-lb sack of Swaen Pils as well.  Anyone care to share or shine some light on this?  Cheers.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: ynotbrusum on April 07, 2020, 05:22:59 am
I like a Hochkurz step mash, if I am looking at German lagers  - 144 for 30, 162 for 30 and 172 for 10 (or you can skip the last temperature rest, if you are heading right to the boil).  I use a HERMS system, so I don’t know what infusion temps and volumes would be used.

Cheers!
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: raf on April 07, 2020, 06:31:43 am
Also, I have heard that some people use highly-modified malt and do step mashes and find themselves with beer that is not as good as their single-infusion beers (cloudy, no head formation, etc) so I don't want that either.

This is the camp I'm in. With the malts that are readily available to me (Briess, Avangard, etc.), I've just not found them to produce a superior result using step or decoction mashes.
Title: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: BrewBama on April 07, 2020, 07:06:45 am
I have done temp steps and infusion steps.  I have gone back to 152*F single infusion and a 170*F mash out because it’s just so much easier with no detriment to the beer IMO. 

When using temp steps, adding the ramp from one temp to the next can extend a mash schedule into PITA territory for me. I found the increased interaction of temp steps every 20-30 minutes was just too much.

When using hot water infusion, I found I was all over the map with temp ‘control’. I couldn’t repeat a mash from one brew day to the next. It made mashing a crap shoot and I just can’t handle that. I am looking for repeatable results. It’s hard to make improvements with no trend.

Now, I mash in, set the temp on my PID and come back when it’s done. Too easy. The measured flow controlled pump constantly recirculates the gap control milled grist to measured liquor ratio mash and I get the same predictable SG and crystal clear wort in the BK. Spot on every time.

There are other processes I’ve tried that I discarded besides just step mashes. I no longer condition my grain before milling for instance. I find I get a more predictable crush by controlling the gap of the mill rollers measured by leaving 70% atop a No 14 sieve and running the motor slow with dry grain.

But there are processes I’ll never quit doing just because they’re more difficult also. I underlet my mash because I get no dough balls. It would be easier to simply pour the water in the tun and stir in the grain like all the videos and tutorials you see but when I did that I got dough balls. So, I slowly pump my water thru the ball valve of a grain filled mash tun. Zero dough balls ever.

If step mashes made 2x better beer despite being 2x more difficult I’d do it. But I found step mashes are 2x more difficult without any improvement. That places it in the not worth it column for me.

With a single temp mash the resulting beers are just as clear, the head retention is no different, and the body is indistinguishable to me.

I caveat the above with two thoughts:

1) I am normally using American standard pale base malt. If I were using an heirloom variety malt that would benefit from temp steps I imagine my process would adapt for that grain bill.

2) My PID controller is not programmable. To make temp change I had to change the temp myself. If I had a programmable PID controller I would be more inclined to consider using steps.  Sounds lazy but the constant up and down was BS.


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Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: KellerBrauer on April 07, 2020, 07:17:26 am
I have been doing a step mash for quite some time now, albeit not nearly as complicated as you (village taphouse) suggest.  I do a protein rest at 120° for about 20 minutes, then I move to my saccharification rest with a temperature based on the results I’m looking for, often followed by a mashout.

Dryer finish: 130° to 152° for about 90 minutes.  A dryer finish will produce a higher ABV
Sweeter finish: 153° to 167° for about 60 minutes.  A sweeter finish will produce a lower ABV

The quantity of water and the water temperature is calculated in BeerSmith based on my Equipment Profile and a few other factors.

Lastly, many of the temperature rests you refer to are not necessary of you use a highly modified malt as a base.  That said, the highly modified base Malt should make up a large portion of your grain bill - say at least 60-70%.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 07, 2020, 08:12:57 am
IMO, a step mash shpuld depend on the ,aly you use and if it will benefit from it.  Many do not, and it could even be detrimental.  I still do step mashes a few times a year to see if it makes any improvement (or even difference) in my beers and so far it hasn't.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: goose on April 07, 2020, 08:16:08 am
I have made Helles three ways, single infusion, step mash, and triple decoction.  I really don't see meuch difference between the flavor with a single infusion and a decotion except for maybe a bit more melanoiden character.  So in my estimation, the decoction with today's highly modified malts is a waste of time on my brew day unless you are trying to recreate the old German techniques.
My Helles is the only beer in which I do a step mash.  Got this from Horst's style book for Helles.

protein rest at 122 degrees for 30 minutes
low sacchaification rest at 140 degrees for 15 minutes
high saccharification rest at 156 degrees for 15 minutes
mash-out for 10 minutes at 168 degrees

Does it really make that much difference, probably not as Denny says, but this is one beer that I like to mess with.  Is it a PITA, well yes kinda because of all the heating steps (RIMS system aided with an external heat source to help raise the temperature to the next step a bit faster)   All other beers use a single infusion mash.

But if you are looking to do a step mash, this is the technique I use for a Helles and it comes out pretty malty, which is a characteristic for the style.  If you want it drier, you could bump up the low saccharification temp to maybe 146-148 and eliminate the high saccharification step.  But that is your choice.

Just my .02
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 07, 2020, 08:16:55 am
Guys, thanks.  When I see something in the article like "you do it this way because it makes noticeably better beer" (I'm paraphrasing) then it makes me want to try it just to see if it's really noticeable.  I have tried a Hochkurz mash a few times, probably with a higher-modified malt since that's what I typically buy.  I saw no difference but maybe I did something wrong.  A brewed bud of mine (lives in DE) sent me a big 32oz can of Helles from a local brewery called Stitch House.  The beer was fantastic.  It was smooth and balanced but it had a very dry and unique finish... something I do not see in my own beers.  When I make a helles I am very critical of it because I want it to be that good.  I consider the helles I make to be good but the finish is not quite as dry.  Others have told me to add a smidge of sulfate to the water or use a late hop addition which I *could* do but I just wonder if a step mash could create that slightly better attenuation and crisp finish.  I hear BrewBama on the unpredictable results... with hot water it's a moving target for sure.   
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Visor on April 07, 2020, 10:56:57 am
   The only time I do a step mash is when I brew one recipe that's ~50% rye, it starts with a glucan rest at ~112* with the intent being to reduce lautering time. It definitely is a PITA cuz the 2nd infusion even at boiling [202*] only brings the mash temp up to ~145* so I have to do a decoction to get the mash up to target. That of course is a bit of a crap shoot guessing exactly what volume to decoct. I could steal some H2O from the sparge volume to make the 2nd infusion hit target temp, but then there wouldn't be enough remaining volume to effective. Even with the glucan rest this beer takes freaking forever to lauter, I'm considering skipping the glucan rest next time I brew it to find out if it really does make a difference in lautering time. From my experience the online infusion calculators are all garbage.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 07, 2020, 11:23:16 am
Guys, thanks.  When I see something in the article like "you do it this way because it makes noticeably better beer" (I'm paraphrasing) then it makes me want to try it just to see if it's really noticeable.  I have tried a Hochkurz mash a few times, probably with a higher-modified malt since that's what I typically buy.  I saw no difference but maybe I did something wrong.  A brewed bud of mine (lives in DE) sent me a big 32oz can of Helles from a local brewery called Stitch House.  The beer was fantastic.  It was smooth and balanced but it had a very dry and unique finish... something I do not see in my own beers.  When I make a helles I am very critical of it because I want it to be that good.  I consider the helles I make to be good but the finish is not quite as dry.  Others have told me to add a smidge of sulfate to the water or use a late hop addition which I *could* do but I just wonder if a step mash could create that slightly better attenuation and crisp finish.  I hear BrewBama on the unpredictable results... with hot water it's a moving target for sure.   

One Take away from the article is that he is using malts we can't source.

Someday I will see if I can find out how many Maltsters there are in Germany.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 07, 2020, 11:24:00 am
   The only time I do a step mash is when I brew one recipe that's ~50% rye, it starts with a glucan rest at ~112* with the intent being to reduce lautering time. It definitely is a PITA cuz the 2nd infusion even at boiling [202*] only brings the mash temp up to ~145* so I have to do a decoction to get the mash up to target. That of course is a bit of a crap shoot guessing exactly what volume to decoct. I could steal some H2O from the sparge volume to make the 2nd infusion hit target temp, but then there wouldn't be enough remaining volume to effective. Even with the glucan rest this beer takes freaking forever to lauter, I'm considering skipping the glucan rest next time I brew it to find out if it really does make a difference in lautering time. From my experience the online infusion calculators are all garbage.

I wonder why you have such troubles.  I've never had an issue even at 60% rye malt.  Are yiu using rye malt or flaked?  I'd love to get to the bottom of this.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 07, 2020, 11:25:35 am
Guys, thanks.  When I see something in the article like "you do it this way because it makes noticeably better beer" (I'm paraphrasing) then it makes me want to try it just to see if it's really noticeable.  I have tried a Hochkurz mash a few times, probably with a higher-modified malt since that's what I typically buy.  I saw no difference but maybe I did something wrong.  A brewed bud of mine (lives in DE) sent me a big 32oz can of Helles from a local brewery called Stitch House.  The beer was fantastic.  It was smooth and balanced but it had a very dry and unique finish... something I do not see in my own beers.  When I make a helles I am very critical of it because I want it to be that good.  I consider the helles I make to be good but the finish is not quite as dry.  Others have told me to add a smidge of sulfate to the water or use a late hop addition which I *could* do but I just wonder if a step mash could create that slightly better attenuation and crisp finish.  I hear BrewBama on the unpredictable results... with hot water it's a moving target for sure.   

One Take away from the article is that he is using malts we can't source.

Someday I will see if I can find out how many Maltsters there are in Germany.

And that's the thing that seems to get overlooked so often.  Some malts may need or benefit from step mashing.  Most do not in my experience.  People hear about a procedure tied to beer they like and think it will help them, but too often don't look at the entire pictuee.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 07, 2020, 11:31:08 am
Guys, thanks.  When I see something in the article like "you do it this way because it makes noticeably better beer" (I'm paraphrasing) then it makes me want to try it just to see if it's really noticeable.  I have tried a Hochkurz mash a few times, probably with a higher-modified malt since that's what I typically buy.  I saw no difference but maybe I did something wrong.  A brewed bud of mine (lives in DE) sent me a big 32oz can of Helles from a local brewery called Stitch House.  The beer was fantastic.  It was smooth and balanced but it had a very dry and unique finish... something I do not see in my own beers.  When I make a helles I am very critical of it because I want it to be that good.  I consider the helles I make to be good but the finish is not quite as dry.  Others have told me to add a smidge of sulfate to the water or use a late hop addition which I *could* do but I just wonder if a step mash could create that slightly better attenuation and crisp finish.  I hear BrewBama on the unpredictable results... with hot water it's a moving target for sure.   

One Take away from the article is that he is using malts we can't source.

Someday I will see if I can find out how many Maltsters there are in Germany.

And that's the thing that seems to get overlooked so often.  Some malts may need or benefit from step mashing.  Most do not in my experience.  People hear about a procedure tied to beer they like and think it will help them, but too often don't look at the entire pictuee.
I hear this.  I think that there is something about my approach to things (brewing being one of them) where I want to try something and get some understanding of it just to see what happens.  I know a number of people who dismiss things without ever trying it so their credibility is gone at that point.  Of course I could try something, decide it makes no difference and then tell people that I tried it but then find out that there were other considerations or that my experiment was wrong so there's that too.  For anyone who read that article, the part that gets me is that other beer people and other head brewers across the world see this guy's beer as the true pinnacle (among other German beers which is really saying something) and I just want to know some of the magic. 
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 07, 2020, 11:33:26 am
Guys, thanks.  When I see something in the article like "you do it this way because it makes noticeably better beer" (I'm paraphrasing) then it makes me want to try it just to see if it's really noticeable.  I have tried a Hochkurz mash a few times, probably with a higher-modified malt since that's what I typically buy.  I saw no difference but maybe I did something wrong.  A brewed bud of mine (lives in DE) sent me a big 32oz can of Helles from a local brewery called Stitch House.  The beer was fantastic.  It was smooth and balanced but it had a very dry and unique finish... something I do not see in my own beers.  When I make a helles I am very critical of it because I want it to be that good.  I consider the helles I make to be good but the finish is not quite as dry.  Others have told me to add a smidge of sulfate to the water or use a late hop addition which I *could* do but I just wonder if a step mash could create that slightly better attenuation and crisp finish.  I hear BrewBama on the unpredictable results... with hot water it's a moving target for sure.   

One Take away from the article is that he is using malts we can't source.

Someday I will see if I can find out how many Maltsters there are in Germany.

And that's the thing that seems to get overlooked so often.  Some malts may need or benefit from step mashing.  Most do not in my experience.  People hear about a procedure tied to beer they like and think it will help them, but too often don't look at the entire pictuee.
I hear this.  I think that there is something about my approach to things (brewing being one of them) where I want to try something and get some understanding of it just to see what happens.  I know a number of people who dismiss things without ever trying it so their credibility is gone at that point.  Of course I could try something, decide it makes no difference and then tell people that I tried it but then find out that there were other considerations or that my experiment was wrong so there's that too.  For anyone who read that article, the part that gets me is that other beer people and other head brewers across the world see this guy's beer as the true pinnacle (among other German beers which is really saying something) and I just want to know some of the magic.

Ken, I understand completely.  That how I reach my own conclusions and opinions...I try it.  But keep in mind that it's not just procedure that makes this guy's beer famous. You need to get his ingredients, too
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: dannyjed on April 07, 2020, 11:58:04 am
I think every brewer should try a decoction mash at least once if they can. I just did a double-decoction for a German Pils on Friday and was surprised on how smoothly it went considering I haven’t done it in a couple of years. I can’t tell you if it makes a difference or not, but I definitely had the time to do it. Also, I believe in the article it states that the malt used is under-modified, so a step/decoction mash is probably necessary.


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Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 07, 2020, 12:16:41 pm
I think every brewer should try a decoction mash at least once if they can. I just did a double-decoction for a German Pils on Friday and was surprised on how smoothly it went considering I haven’t done it in a couple of years. I can’t tell you if it makes a difference or not, but I definitely had the time to do it. Also, I believe in the article it states that the malt used is under-modified, so a step/decoction mash is probably necessary.


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Yep, that's the time for those processes. Unfortunately, too many homebrewers try to apply them to the malt they have, which is almost never undermodified.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Visor on April 07, 2020, 01:36:51 pm
   The only time I do a step mash is when I brew one recipe that's ~50% rye, it starts with a glucan rest at ~112* with the intent being to reduce lautering time. It definitely is a PITA cuz the 2nd infusion even at boiling [202*] only brings the mash temp up to ~145* so I have to do a decoction to get the mash up to target. That of course is a bit of a crap shoot guessing exactly what volume to decoct. I could steal some H2O from the sparge volume to make the 2nd infusion hit target temp, but then there wouldn't be enough remaining volume to effective. Even with the glucan rest this beer takes freaking forever to lauter, I'm considering skipping the glucan rest next time I brew it to find out if it really does make a difference in lautering time. From my experience the online infusion calculators are all garbage.

I wonder why you have such troubles.  I've never had an issue even at 60% rye malt.  Are yiu using rye malt or flaked?  I'd love to get to the bottom of this.

   Regular rye malt, crystal and chocolate rye and a healthy dose of maize. Even with rice hulls it takes an hour to lauter a volume I'd get from other beers in half the time. I use a brew bag in a 10G cooler and have a rig I can suspend the bag from, that reduces lautering time quite a bit. I've made an imperial version of this beer a few times and total lauter time for mash and sparge can be as long as 3 hours. It's just something to factor in whenever I decide to brew this one, the results are always worth the effort so I keep making it so I can have one whenever I want.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 07, 2020, 01:43:54 pm
   The only time I do a step mash is when I brew one recipe that's ~50% rye, it starts with a glucan rest at ~112* with the intent being to reduce lautering time. It definitely is a PITA cuz the 2nd infusion even at boiling [202*] only brings the mash temp up to ~145* so I have to do a decoction to get the mash up to target. That of course is a bit of a crap shoot guessing exactly what volume to decoct. I could steal some H2O from the sparge volume to make the 2nd infusion hit target temp, but then there wouldn't be enough remaining volume to effective. Even with the glucan rest this beer takes freaking forever to lauter, I'm considering skipping the glucan rest next time I brew it to find out if it really does make a difference in lautering time. From my experience the online infusion calculators are all garbage.

I wonder why you have such troubles.  I've never had an issue even at 60% rye malt.  Are yiu using rye malt or flaked?  I'd love to get to the bottom of this.

   Regular rye malt, crystal and chocolate rye and a healthy dose of maize. Even with rice hulls it takes an hour to lauter a volume I'd get from other beers in half the time. I use a brew bag in a 10G cooler and have a rig I can suspend the bag from, that reduces lautering time quite a bit. I've made an imperial version of this beer a few times and total lauter time for mash and sparge can be as long as 3 hours. It's just something to factor in whenever I decide to brew this one, the results are always worth the effort so I keep making it so I can have one whenever I want.

Wow...sounds like a real hassle, but glad the results are worth it.  Makes me even more glad about the performance of my cooler/braid combo!
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: jeffy on April 07, 2020, 01:56:36 pm
   The only time I do a step mash is when I brew one recipe that's ~50% rye, it starts with a glucan rest at ~112* with the intent being to reduce lautering time. It definitely is a PITA cuz the 2nd infusion even at boiling [202*] only brings the mash temp up to ~145* so I have to do a decoction to get the mash up to target. That of course is a bit of a crap shoot guessing exactly what volume to decoct. I could steal some H2O from the sparge volume to make the 2nd infusion hit target temp, but then there wouldn't be enough remaining volume to effective. Even with the glucan rest this beer takes freaking forever to lauter, I'm considering skipping the glucan rest next time I brew it to find out if it really does make a difference in lautering time. From my experience the online infusion calculators are all garbage.

I wonder why you have such troubles.  I've never had an issue even at 60% rye malt.  Are yiu using rye malt or flaked?  I'd love to get to the bottom of this.

   Regular rye malt, crystal and chocolate rye and a healthy dose of maize. Even with rice hulls it takes an hour to lauter a volume I'd get from other beers in half the time. I use a brew bag in a 10G cooler and have a rig I can suspend the bag from, that reduces lautering time quite a bit. I've made an imperial version of this beer a few times and total lauter time for mash and sparge can be as long as 3 hours. It's just something to factor in whenever I decide to brew this one, the results are always worth the effort so I keep making it so I can have one whenever I want.

Wow...sounds like a real hassle, but glad the results are worth it.  Makes me even more glad about the performance of my cooler/braid combo!
I just made a rye APA last weekend with 25% rye malt, single infusion at 153 or so.  I use a sabco false bottom and had no problems with the lauter, but I always go pretty slow.  It takes about 45 minutes on my system to sparge.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 07, 2020, 02:03:03 pm
I think every brewer should try a decoction mash at least once if they can. I just did a double-decoction for a German Pils on Friday and was surprised on how smoothly it went considering I haven’t done it in a couple of years. I can’t tell you if it makes a difference or not, but I definitely had the time to do it. Also, I believe in the article it states that the malt used is under-modified, so a step/decoction mash is probably necessary.
I agree and I have tried decoctions in the past.  They were not "complicated" but it was a bit of a comedy sketch and the resulting beer could be called "good" but nothing out of this world.  I also agree about the malt.  I have bought German malt from Weyermann (Barke, etc) that may or may not be highly-modified... I'm not sure.  But I often have Swaen, Avangard, Best Malz, etc. which make very good beer with single-infusions.  I should also say that I am generally very pleased with my beers.  But I always wonder if I could be even MORE pleased with my beers.  :D  Cheers.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: TXFlyGuy on April 07, 2020, 07:01:00 pm
G. Noonan would tell you all the reasons why a decoction mash makes a big difference.
The Hoffbrau Brewery employs a step infusion mash.
The Helles we have on tap now was a triple step infusion. The Amber Lager we brewed yesterday was a single step infusion.

Our biggest challenge is maintaining a uniform temp throughout the mash tun. Some places will vary by 15 degrees. How do you combat this? We have a direct fired mash tun with a recirculating pump.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: ynotbrusum on April 07, 2020, 07:41:59 pm
For clarity - I rarely ever do a step mash anymore, but I don’t rule it out.  Single infusion at 149-152 really works well with the well modified malts we get today.  Just made a Helles with Sekado Pils malt from the Czech Reublic.  Interesting richness from the malt not dry like the typical Helles that is well attenuated with Weyermann.  Different and worth comparing for those of us that typically brew these light lagers over and over again, trying to chase the unicorn.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 08, 2020, 08:05:01 am
G. Noonan would tell you all the reasons why a decoction mash makes a big difference.
The Hoffbrau Brewery employs a step infusion mash.
The Helles we have on tap now was a triple step infusion. The Amber Lager we brewed yesterday was a single step infusion.

Our biggest challenge is maintaining a uniform temp throughout the mash tun. Some places will vary by 15 degrees. How do you combat this? We have a direct fired mash tun with a recirculating pump.

That book was written 25+ years ago.  Noonan was working with different ingredients than we have now.  What was appropriate then may very well not be now.  Same goes for Designing Great Beers.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: TXFlyGuy on April 08, 2020, 08:34:50 am
G. Noonan would tell you all the reasons why a decoction mash makes a big difference.
The Hoffbrau Brewery employs a step infusion mash.
The Helles we have on tap now was a triple step infusion. The Amber Lager we brewed yesterday was a single step infusion.

Our biggest challenge is maintaining a uniform temp throughout the mash tun. Some places will vary by 15 degrees. How do you combat this? We have a direct fired mash tun with a recirculating pump.

That book was written 25+ years ago.  Noonan was working with different ingredients than we have now.  What was appropriate then may very well not be now.  Same goes for Designing Great Beers.

Is the German Pils malt we buy today different from the same malt bought 20 years ago? If we are talking, 50, 75 or more years, then probably so.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 08, 2020, 08:57:34 am
G. Noonan would tell you all the reasons why a decoction mash makes a big difference.
The Hoffbrau Brewery employs a step infusion mash.
The Helles we have on tap now was a triple step infusion. The Amber Lager we brewed yesterday was a single step infusion.

Our biggest challenge is maintaining a uniform temp throughout the mash tun. Some places will vary by 15 degrees. How do you combat this? We have a direct fired mash tun with a recirculating pump.

That book was written 25+ years ago.  Noonan was working with different ingredients than we have now.  What was appropriate then may very well not be now.  Same goes for Designing Great Beers.

Is the German Pils malt we buy today different from the same malt bought 20 years ago? If we are talking, 50, 75 or more years, then probably so.

VERY much different.  20 years ago it was hard to even get continental malts here.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: HabeasCorpus on April 08, 2020, 12:28:59 pm
(Level of) Modification: A measure of the length of the acrospire in relation to the size of the kernel. 

Under-modified: Acrospire grows to < 75% of the length of the kernel
Well Modified:  Acrospire grows to >= 75% and <= 100% of the length of the kernel
Overmodified: Acrospire grows to > 100% of the length of the kernel (never sold or targeted)

In each batch of malt a certain percentage will be had of each level of modification.  In a well controlled process the largest percent is the target percentage.

Step Mash: A mashing procedure whereby the temperature of the mash is raised in timed steps to activate various enzymes or release acids contained in malted barley.

Decoction: A mashing procedure whereby a thick portion of the mash is boiled and added back to a thin portion in order to raise the temperature.  The temperature is normally raised in timed steps just as a step mash, though only two or three steps is common.

What do the terms "highly modified", "modern", "hot" mean?

They refer to varieties of barley bred and malted to contain large amounts of enzymes such that they convert fast in the mash.  They also refer to "well modified" malt as defined above.  Convert (or conversion) meaning the act of the enzymes converting starches to sugars in the mash.

My purpose in defining these terms is to try and find an association between the level of modification and the mash type.

What benefit does a step mash have on each of these types of malt: under-modified, well modified and over modified malt?

Step mashing has nothing to do with malt modification but rather making use of certain properties of the malt at each temperature.  Ferulic acid rest, Protein rest, Beta rest, Alpha rest, etc... None of those care about malt modification, save the speed at which the conversion occurs.  Under-modified malts and/or recipes whose Degrees of Lintner values aren't high enough may require more time for each step to complete or convert.

What benefit does a decoction mash have on each of these types of malt: under-modified, well modified and over modified malt?

Decoction mashing is normally used on under-modified malts where it is helpful to burst the cell walls to release additional starches and enzymes.  It also has the same effect that step mashing has when the rest temperatures are stepped up.

The only association that I can find between level of modification and step/decoction mashing is the time assigned to each step and in a very general sense the step times may increase with under-modified malts but would require experimentation in any case.  Are there any other associations?
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 08, 2020, 01:53:31 pm
Since we can 't see the acrosprire, I find it much more useful to define the degree of modification by the S/T protein ratio of the malt.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: HabeasCorpus on April 08, 2020, 02:09:32 pm
Since we can 't see the acrosprire, I find it much more useful to define the degree of modification by the S/T protein ratio of the malt.

Perhaps I'm alone, but I've never had a problem "seeing" the length of the acrospire on a reasonable size kernel of malted barley.

Can you quantify the S/T ratio?  What ratio is considered "well modified" vs "under modified"?

X% Soluble / Total = Under-modified
X% Soluble / Total = Well-modified
X% Soluble / Total = Over-modified

Even with defining these numbers, I can't see any further association between levels of modification and mash type, maybe I'm missing something?
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: jeffy on April 08, 2020, 03:11:52 pm
Since we can 't see the acrosprire, I find it much more useful to define the degree of modification by the S/T protein ratio of the malt.

Perhaps I'm alone, but I've never had a problem "seeing" the length of the acrospire on a reasonable size kernel of malted barley.

Can you quantify the S/T ratio?  What ratio is considered "well modified" vs "under modified"?

X% Soluble / Total = Under-modified
X% Soluble / Total = Well-modified
X% Soluble / Total = Over-modified

Even with defining these numbers, I can't see any further association between levels of modification and mash type, maybe I'm missing something?
Unless you're involved in the malting process you don't get to see the acrospire.  It is long gone by the time the maltster is done.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 08, 2020, 03:17:57 pm
Since we can 't see the acrosprire, I find it much more useful to define the degree of modification by the S/T protein ratio of the malt.

Perhaps I'm alone, but I've never had a problem "seeing" the length of the acrospire on a reasonable size kernel of malted barley.

Can you quantify the S/T ratio?  What ratio is considered "well modified" vs "under modified"?

X% Soluble / Total = Under-modified
X% Soluble / Total = Well-modified
X% Soluble / Total = Over-modified

Even with defining these numbers, I can't see any further association between levels of modification and mash type, maybe I'm missing something?

From Palmer's "What to Expect When You're Extracting" article in Zymurgy...

The most common indicator of malt modification is the Soluble to Total Protein Ratio (S/T ratio), also known as the Kolbach Index. To
generalize, a ratio of 36 to 40 percent is a less-modified malt, 40 to 44 percent is a well-modified malt and 44 to 48 percent is a highly modified malt.

Highly modified malt will not benefit from something like a protein rest.  I proved that to myself on my step mash when I used GW Munich.  Because malt is made for commercial operations and it costs them money if they have to do a complicated mash routine, most malt is made to use a single infusion.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: HabeasCorpus on April 08, 2020, 04:06:17 pm
Unless you're involved in the malting process you don't get to see the acrospire.  It is long gone by the time the maltster is done.

Actually, that's not correct, you do see them - sometimes they are knocked off by milling and will float in the mash after stirring, but they certainly don't disappear after malting.  The acrospire will remain on the barley kernel, under the husk, until milling and throughout the mash if not broken off or crushed by mechanical process before hand.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: HabeasCorpus on April 08, 2020, 04:15:06 pm

From Palmer's "What to Expect When You're Extracting" article in Zymurgy...

The most common indicator of malt modification is the Soluble to Total Protein Ratio (S/T ratio), also known as the Kolbach Index. To
generalize, a ratio of 36 to 40 percent is a less-modified malt, 40 to 44 percent is a well-modified malt and 44 to 48 percent is a highly modified malt.

Highly modified malt will not benefit from something like a protein rest.  I proved that to myself on my step mash when I used GW Munich.  Because malt is made for commercial operations and it costs them money if they have to do a complicated mash routine, most malt is made to use a single infusion.

Thank you for explaining and quantifying the S/T ratio.

So the level of modification can be associated with which temperature ranges are useful for that particular malt.

Is there a chart that spells out which rests are useful with what level of modification?

Example:

Less-Modified: Protein, Beta, Alpha
Well-Modified: Protein, Beta, Alpha
Highly-Modified: Beta, Alpha
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 09, 2020, 07:12:26 am
A few things to keep in mind:

1.) You would have to really search out a malt, continental or otherwise, that is undermodified. Most malts that are these days are done so intentionally.

2.) One of the best articles we have found, and one we recommend any time this discussion comes up, is from Brauwelt and forms the basis of the recommendations we usually make about step mashing. Pay special attanetion to Part 2:

- http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/pkjdf.pdf (http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/pkjdf.pdf) ("Some Reflections on Mashing - Part 1")

- http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/pddvxvf.pdf (http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/pddvxvf.pdf) ("Some Reflections on Mashing - Part 2")

These articles are great read regardless of whether you use the info or not.

3.) In my opinion, unless someone is doing a specific style that requires rests lower than Beta (β) rest temps, then anything lower than 144 ° F shouldnt be used. That of course depends on the gelatinization temps of that specific lot of malt.

4.) You really want to target specific mash schedules and temps based on the malt used not the beer style. I think people on both sides of this discussion can agree that mashing is malt specific whether you use a single infusion or a multi-step mash.

5.) With that said, targeting multiple β rest temps can be a useful tool to get the most extract out of your grain and increase fermentability (attenuation). Again, this depends largely on the malt so consult the data sheet to how it's specifications play into this.

6.) A long Alpha (α) rest temp helps preserve the body of the beer given that you will likely produce a highly fermentable beer with even a well chosen single β rest temp.

7.) The extended α rest combined with a prolonged mash out helps to bolster foam positive components.


Like all things, it's a combination of both preference and science. As many point out, the results sometimes don't justify the work for them. That's fine. For some it does and the literature is out there for them to get help effectively implementing a schedule that works for their needs.

With respect to Ken's OP:

But I am asking those of you here if you have found a good step mashing procedure that will create a bit drier finish in something like a helles or dortmunder or pilsner....At the moment I have a partial sack of Avangard Pilsner and I have an unopened 55-lb sack of Swaen Pils as well.

Sounds like you might want multiple Beta (β) rest temps. Something like:

144 ° F, 147 ° F and 149-153 ° F

Do you have the malt analysis sheets for your pilsner malts?
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 09, 2020, 07:45:45 am
Unless you're involved in the malting process you don't get to see the acrospire.  It is long gone by the time the maltster is done.

Actually, that's not correct, you do see them - sometimes they are knocked off by milling and will float in the mash after stirring, but they certainly don't disappear after malting.  The acrospire will remain on the barley kernel, under the husk, until milling and throughout the mash if not broken off or crushed by mechanical process before hand.

Can you give me an example of what malt you've seen them in?  In 22 years of homebrewing and thousands of pounds of malt, I may have seen one once.  Certainly not anything like a normal occurrence.  And don't discount Jeff's remark...his brother is a maltster and Jeff has seen plenty of malt.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: HabeasCorpus on April 09, 2020, 07:56:32 am
Can you give me an example of what malt you've seen them in?  In 22 years of homebrewing and thousands of pounds of malt, I may have seen one once.  Certainly not anything like a normal occurrence.  And don't discount Jeff's remark...his brother is a maltster and Jeff has seen plenty of malt.

Briess, Rahr, sometimes Weyermann and Great Western, basically used to (sometimes still do) get this all the time with malt from Northern Brewer.

3rd and 4th picture down:

https://imgur.com/a/5NAZL

I meant no insult to Jeff, perhaps this is a sign of "fresh" malt or on the other end of the spectrum a sign of poorly dried/malted malt?
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: goose on April 09, 2020, 08:08:53 am
   The only time I do a step mash is when I brew one recipe that's ~50% rye, it starts with a glucan rest at ~112* with the intent being to reduce lautering time. It definitely is a PITA cuz the 2nd infusion even at boiling [202*] only brings the mash temp up to ~145* so I have to do a decoction to get the mash up to target. That of course is a bit of a crap shoot guessing exactly what volume to decoct. I could steal some H2O from the sparge volume to make the 2nd infusion hit target temp, but then there wouldn't be enough remaining volume to effective. Even with the glucan rest this beer takes freaking forever to lauter, I'm considering skipping the glucan rest next time I brew it to find out if it really does make a difference in lautering time. From my experience the online infusion calculators are all garbage.

I wonder why you have such troubles.  I've never had an issue even at 60% rye malt.  Are yiu using rye malt or flaked?  I'd love to get to the bottom of this.

That is a question I would like to see answered as well.  I have never had a problem using rye malt in relatively high concentrations in a mash.  Just to be safe, I will add some rice hulls when approaching 50% rye as insurance to prevent sticking the mash but have never had a problem lautering it.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: HabeasCorpus on April 09, 2020, 08:13:59 am
A few things to keep in mind:

1.) You would have to really search out a malt, continental or otherwise, that is undermodified. Most malts that are these days are done so intentionally.

2.) One of the best articles we have found, and one we recommend any time this discussion comes up, is from Brauwelt and forms the basis of the recommendations we usually make about step mashing. Pay special attanetion to Part 2:

- http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/pkjdf.pdf (http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/pkjdf.pdf) ("Some Reflections on Mashing - Part 1")

- http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/pddvxvf.pdf (http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/pddvxvf.pdf) ("Some Reflections on Mashing - Part 2")

These articles are great read regardless of whether you use the info or not.

3.) In my opinion, unless someone is doing a specific style that requires rests lower than Beta (β) rest temps, then anything lower than 144 ° F shouldnt be used. That of course depends on the gelatinization temps of that specific lot of malt.

4.) You really want to target specific mash schedules and temps based on the malt used not the beer style. I think people on both sides of this discussion can agree that mashing is malt specific whether you use a single infusion or a multi-step mash.

5.) With that said, targeting multiple β rest temps can be a useful tool to get the most extract out of your grain and increase fermentability (attenuation). Again, this depends largely on the malt so consult the data sheet to how it's specifications play into this.

6.) A long Alpha (α) rest temp helps preserve the body of the beer given that you will likely produce a highly fermentable beer with even a well chosen single β rest temp.

7.) The extended α rest combined with a prolonged mash out helps to bolster foam positive components.


Like all things, it's a combination of both preference and science. As many point out, the results sometimes don't justify the work for them. That's fine. For some it does and the literature is out there for them to get help effectively implementing a schedule that works for their needs.

With respect to Ken's OP:

But I am asking those of you here if you have found a good step mashing procedure that will create a bit drier finish in something like a helles or dortmunder or pilsner....At the moment I have a partial sack of Avangard Pilsner and I have an unopened 55-lb sack of Swaen Pils as well.

Sounds like you might want multiple Beta (β) rest temps. Something like:

144 ° F, 147 ° F and 149-153 ° F

Do you have the malt analysis sheets for your pilsner malts?

What are you looking for on the malt specification sheet to determine your rest temperatures?

More-over and what no one ever talks about or even specifies is how they determine the length of time at each temperature step other than guessing and experimentation with a batch of malt?

I know I'm hi-jacking the OP's thread with all this but the terms "Modern Malt" and "Malt these days" just don't make sense in my mind.  Modern maltings have been around for 50-100 years now?  "Malt these day is purposefully under-modifed!" really?  And industrial processes back in the day didn't purposefully under-modify the malt?  The only difference is the specs coming from the breweries.  The old timers liked the under-modified malts and were accustom to working with them, but now the breweries have gotten spoiled with modern barley varieties, fast conversion times and the oh so import bottom line. /rant over
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 09, 2020, 08:32:40 am
What are you looking for on the malt specification sheet to determine your rest temperatures?

For Beta rest temperatures you would be interested in the value for the Hartong Index (VZ 45 ° C) which provides a reasonable relationship to the gelatinization temperature for the malt. On the low end, a Hartong Index of 35 would roughly correlate to a gelatinization temperature of about 65 ° C (149  ° F), which means you'd be limited on your number of Beta rest temps. On the high end, a Hartong Index of 50 would roughly correlate to a gelatinization temperature of about 58 ° C (136  ° F), which means you'd be free to choose any Beta rest temps.

More-over and what no one ever talks about or even specifies is how they determine the length of time at each temperature step other than guessing and experimentation with a batch of malt?

I think initially you need to track gravity across the Beta rests for a new malt to see how the extract you are getting relates to the time you are mashing at a specific temperature but once you have that dialed you can just roll with it. Most brewers that i know doing a 2 or 3 step Beta regimem are getting the bulk of the extract content in the first (or second) rest and then a smaller amount on the second (or third) rest and a smaller amount still in the third rest.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 09, 2020, 11:55:47 am
Mecca Grade makes an undermodified malt especially for people who want to do step mashes...

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/51cc9a75e4b0814177ba37af/t/5e5ea429fad9a465faeb8a7a/1583260722426/MGEM_Gateway.pdf
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: TXFlyGuy on April 09, 2020, 11:59:56 am
Mecca Grade makes an undermodified malt especially for people who want to do step mashes...

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/51cc9a75e4b0814177ba37af/t/5e5ea429fad9a465faeb8a7a/1583260722426/MGEM_Gateway.pdf

I thought Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Pils was slightly under modified?
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 09, 2020, 12:02:14 pm
Mecca Grade makes an undermodified malt especially for people who want to do step mashes...

https://static1.squarespace.com/static/51cc9a75e4b0814177ba37af/t/5e5ea429fad9a465faeb8a7a/1583260722426/MGEM_Gateway.pdf

I think it's a misconception that the only malts that would benefit from step mashing is an undermodified malt. Regardless, the one you quoted from Mecca is far from undermodified.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: TXFlyGuy on April 09, 2020, 12:06:46 pm
I just contacted the source...Weyermann.

Hoping for a response soon.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 09, 2020, 12:08:52 pm
I just contacted the source...Weyermann.

Hoping for a response soon.

Just pull the specifications off their site. With a Kolbach Index between 36-44, it can be slightly under-modified on the low end. Although on the high end I see no reason to call it undermodified. That contrasts with the 40-49 of the Mecca graded Denny linked, which is a reasonably well to very modified malt.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 09, 2020, 01:51:24 pm
I just contacted the source...Weyermann.

Hoping for a response soon.

Just pull the specifications off their site. With a Kolbach Index between 36-44, it can be slightly under-modified on the low end. Although on the high end I see no reason to call it undermodified. That contrasts with the 40-49 of the Mecca graded Denny linked, which is a reasonably well to very modified malt.

Indeed!  I missed that.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: BrewBama on April 09, 2020, 02:42:23 pm
If you’re looking for low S/T value, it appears Briess’ Pils and Goldpils Vienna malts would do:

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200409/03b57232185318b6bf6ca1eea54bfa5c.jpg)


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Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 09, 2020, 05:54:06 pm
If you’re looking for low S/T value, it appears Briess’ Pils and Goldpils Vienna malts would do:

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200409/03b57232185318b6bf6ca1eea54bfa5c.jpg)


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

That’s not really all that low though.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 09, 2020, 06:19:43 pm
I think there are a few things that float around worth discussing specific to this thread:

1.) Is there such a thing as undermodified malt? I’m going to say no. When I said you would have to really look hard to find it, I think I was being charitable. I don’t think you can find a truly undermodified malt in the homebrew market.

2.) The idea that you should mash based on beer style, beer country, etc. is bunk. You mash malt, not style. Mash schedules are and should be tailored to the malt being used. By extension, you should try and familiarize yourself with the base malt you use. That’s actually easier said than done because for the most part, Weyermann is really one of the only maltsters out there who makes it easy to get data sheets.

3.) Should you step mash? Maybe, maybe not. I’ve always had a specific reason to do it. I brew mainly Trappist inspired ales. I also brew small batches. Why should anyone care about that? Mainly because it informs you about why step mashing benefits me. I want the maximum amount of highly attenuative wort I can get because my style I brew demands high attenuation and my small vessels often limit the amount of first wort I can get because I no sparge. I want to ensure through multiple beta rests and a long alpha rest that I get 100% conversion efficiency.

That’s just me. The big thing to take away is that step mashing is not a flavor component. Multiple rests can help with fermentability, extract, body, foam and overall wort quality. Do you need to do it? Absolutely not if you are happy with the product you get using single infusion. But if you start asking yourself questions that lead you down the road to step mashing, you should entertain that certain aspects of the wort you produce, and ultimately the final product you drink, could be enhanced by investigating the benefits of different mash regimens.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: BrewBama on April 09, 2020, 08:32:05 pm
If you’re looking for low S/T value, it appears Briess’ Pils and Goldpils Vienna malts would do:

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200409/03b57232185318b6bf6ca1eea54bfa5c.jpg)


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

That’s not really all that low though.
...”a ratio of 36 to 40 percent is a less-modified malt”...


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 09, 2020, 08:48:47 pm
If you’re looking for low S/T value, it appears Briess’ Pils and Goldpils Vienna malts would do:

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200409/03b57232185318b6bf6ca1eea54bfa5c.jpg)


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

That’s not really all that low though.
...”a ratio of 36 to 40 percent is a less-modified malt”...


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Comparatively speaking. It’s less modified than highly modified but still highly modified.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 09, 2020, 08:55:09 pm
If you’re looking for low S/T value, it appears Briess’ Pils and Goldpils Vienna malts would do:

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200409/03b57232185318b6bf6ca1eea54bfa5c.jpg)


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
That Pilsen malt has a DP of 170! Get it damp at the right temperature and it will be converted.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 09, 2020, 08:59:03 pm
If you’re looking for low S/T value, it appears Briess’ Pils and Goldpils Vienna malts would do:

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200409/03b57232185318b6bf6ca1eea54bfa5c.jpg)


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
That Pilsen malt has a DP of 170! Get it damp at the right temperature and it will be converted.

Ding ding ding! Get that man a prize.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: BrewBama on April 09, 2020, 09:22:35 pm
Huh. Here I was thinking we were talking about S/T ratio. Silly me.


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Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 09, 2020, 09:45:55 pm
Huh. Here I was thinking we were talking about S/T ratio. Silly me.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

We were. And we are. Just goofing around a little.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: ynotbrusum on April 10, 2020, 04:38:50 am
And the time involved in those rest steps factors in here, as well, correct?  You mention finishing with a long alpha rest, but wit several beta rest steps, I assume that the overall mash takes longer than an hour, no?  With small volumes, perhaps it is quicker between steps than I experience with 5-10 gallon HERMS batches?
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 10, 2020, 06:31:07 am
And the time involved in those rest steps factors in here, as well, correct?  You mention finishing with a long alpha rest, but wit several beta rest steps, I assume that the overall mash takes longer than an hour, no?  With small volumes, perhaps it is quicker between steps than I experience with 5-10 gallon HERMS batches?

The Brauwelt mash I linked a page or so back has 3 Beta rests, each at 20 minutes (more on that below), a single Alpha rest at 30 minutes, and a pr0longed mashout of 10-15 minutes. You have to add ramp times as well, which will be system dependent, although the chart below assumes 1 °C/min:

(http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Brauwelt-Hochkurz.png)

So in total, if your system is capable of ramping at 1 °C/min, you can expect to mash for ~100 minutes. However, there is another very nice chart in the article:

(http://www.lowoxygenbrewing.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Brauwelt-Beta-Half-Life.png)

You can see that due to the activity of Beta-Amylase being affected by the increasing temperatures, the % of activity decreases with increasing temperature. You can use the half lives at these temps to adjust the 20 minute Beta rests down accordingly. You may end up with something like this if interested, although i'd stress just using the longer times for Beta 1 and Beta 2 at least if you can:

Beta 1 = 20 min at 62 °C (144 °F)
Ramp  =   2 min
Beta 2 = 10 min at 64 °C (147 °F)
Ramp  =   3 min
Beta 3 =   5 min at 67 °C (153 °F)
Ramp  =   5 min
Alpha  = 30 min at 72 °C (162 °F)
Ramp  =   6 min
MO      = 10 min at 78 °C (172 °F)

Total Time = 91 minutes
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 10, 2020, 07:19:39 am
Lots of good discussion in here as well:

https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=29888.0
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Village Taphouse on April 10, 2020, 07:48:11 am
Thanks to all.  I need to go back and look at these links and noodle with this a bit.  Cheers all around. 
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: HabeasCorpus on April 10, 2020, 07:53:00 am
1.) Is there such a thing as undermodified malt? I’m going to say no. When I said you would have to really look hard to find it, I think I was being charitable. I don’t think you can find a truly undermodified malt in the homebrew market.

You'll find commercial malt advertised as under-modified but it's still "hot" with enough soluble protein to make a shake.

1.) Malt your own. (Yes it really does work and you can produce good malt and excellent - award winning beer by malting your own barley but it is another hobby all together with all kinds of neat things to discover and try, not to mention a whole different set of gadgets, plus I like run on sentences.)
2.) Use chit malt as your base.  Seriously it has enough diastatic power.  https://bestmalz.de/files/specs/Product_Specification_BEST_Chit_Malt_Bestmalz.pdf
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 10, 2020, 08:19:54 am
I think the big takeaway from Derek's info that everyone needs to remember is "mash the malt not the country or style".  That's a lesson I learned and what I've always done since my first unsuccessful step mash.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: HabeasCorpus on April 10, 2020, 08:29:27 am
I think the big takeaway from Derek's info that everyone needs to remember is "mash the malt not the country or style".  That's a lesson I learned and what I've always done since my first unsuccessful step mash.

How does one mash a country or a style?  What train of thought goes into that?
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: goose on April 10, 2020, 09:04:32 am
A lot of really good information, Derek!  Thanks for sharing your insight!
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 10, 2020, 09:25:38 am
I think the big takeaway from Derek's info that everyone needs to remember is "mash the malt not the country or style".  That's a lesson I learned and what I've always done since my first unsuccessful step mash.

How does one mash a country or a style?  What train of thought goes into that?

I think what I mean, and what Denny re-iterated, is that you can't/shouldn't take advice from anyone telling you to "mash a lager like X" or "mash a Belgian beer like Y", etc.

You shouldn't base your mash regimen on beer styles, etc.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: HabeasCorpus on April 10, 2020, 09:28:29 am
I think what I mean, and what Denny re-iterated, is that you can't/shouldn't take advice from anyone telling you to "mash a lager like X" or "mash a Belgian beer like Y", etc.

You shouldn't base your mash regimen on beer styles, etc.

Thanks for explaining, I didn't know people did that!
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 10, 2020, 12:00:34 pm
A lot of really good information, Derek!  Thanks for sharing your insight!

Always glad to help.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 12, 2020, 12:52:48 pm
Looked into a few things.

Undermodified grain will have a steely end, as the modification didn't happen along the full length. Those hard carbohydrates will be broken down through boiling. The decoctions schedule takes the grains through the enzymatic ranges several times, which helps, as undermodified malts have less enzyme development.

In "Malt" by John Mallett he states that The Kohlbach index, S/T, doesn't tell the whole story. One variety with an S/T of 38 may perform as well as on with a S/T approaching 50. Know your Malt variety. A high S/T can give an indication of better enzyme development.

Enzymes are proteins, and the Alpha and Beta dissolve into the mash liquid, hence they are in the S of S/T. That Briess Pils with a DP of 170 has plenty of enzymes. The S/T of 37 doesn't mean it is undermodified.


Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: BrewBama on April 12, 2020, 04:35:28 pm
   While I certainly don’t disagree, as I stated in post #4 above I don’t use step mashes because I don’t use grain that requires it.

I was simply replying to Denny’s statement: “From Palmer's "What to Expect When You're Extracting" article in Zymurgy...

The most common indicator of malt modification is the Soluble to Total Protein Ratio (S/T ratio), also known as the Kolbach Index. To generalize, a ratio of 36 to 40 percent is a less-modified malt...”

Based on that statement, the malts I pointed out from Briess fit the definition of ‘less modified’.

However, like many things in life, and in brewing in particular, 1+1 rarely = 2. It depends, it’s more complex, except for .... (fill in the blank) is more the norm.  In light of this, the Palmer definition cited by Denny is incomplete at best.


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Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: HabeasCorpus on April 12, 2020, 07:47:33 pm
Looked into a few things.

Undermodified grain will have a steely end, as the modification didn't happen along the full length. Those hard carbohydrates will be broken down through boiling. The decoctions schedule takes the grains through the enzymatic ranges several times, which helps, as undermodified malts have less enzyme development.

In "Malt" by John Mallett he states that The Kohlbach index, S/T, doesn't tell the whole story. One variety with an S/T of 38 may perform as well as on with a S/T approaching 50. Know your Malt variety. A high S/T can give an indication of better enzyme development.

Enzymes are proteins, and the Alpha and Beta dissolve into the mash liquid, hence they are in the S of S/T. That Briess Pils with a DP of 170 has plenty of enzymes. The S/T of 37 doesn't mean it is undermodified.

Correct!

Also see Malts and Malting by Briggs, et. al. pg. 682 section 14.17 and pg. 701 section 15.2 for more information on chit and short grow malts.  Which includes a table comparing an analyses of chit, short grow and normal malts.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 12, 2020, 09:16:42 pm
Here’s the deal: No one should really care about modification. As I’ve stated, I don’t think undermodified malts even exist anymore in the technical sense. Even if they did/do, it doesn’t matter anyway. I think what happens sometimes, especially when step mashing is brought up, is someone thinks of a protein rest and then modification enters the picture. It’s a non issue because there just isn’t a malt available to us with a value of modification so low that it would be an issue.

In my opinion there are only two reasons to entertain mashing below beta rest temps:

1.) A ferulic acid rest for a Wiezen;
2.) Dough in low to allow for a live Sauergut culture to utilize its redox properties.

Step mashing, for me at least, is about beta, alpha and mashout rests, period. I feel it maximizes extract content (amount), fermentability, body, and foam. That may not be the case for others. That’s fine as well.

One thing it has nothing to do with as far as I’m concerned, however, is modification and therefore protein rests.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: HabeasCorpus on April 13, 2020, 07:40:49 am
Here%u2019s the deal: No one should really care about modification. As I%u2019ve stated, I don%u2019t think undermodified malts even exist anymore in the technical sense. Even if they did/do, it doesn%u2019t matter anyway. I think what happens sometimes, especially when step mashing is brought up, is someone thinks of a protein rest and then modification enters the picture. It%u2019s a non issue because there just isn%u2019t a malt available to us with a value of modification so low that it would be an issue.

In my opinion there are only two reasons to entertain mashing below beta rest temps:

1.) A ferulic acid rest for a Wiezen;
2.) Dough in low to allow for a live Sauergut culture to utilize its redox properties.

Step mashing, for me at least, is about beta, alpha and mashout rests, period. I feel it maximizes extract content (amount), fermentability, body, and foam. That may not be the case for others. That%u2019s fine as well.

One thing it has nothing to do with as far as I%u2019m concerned, however, is modification and therefore protein rests.

If you're looking for a short grow malt you probably have to make it yourself or use commercial chit malt, as my previous post indicates.

Commercial chit and short grow malts are used in a similar fashion to flaked, have a better yield during malting and are cheaper to use at a commercial level for increasing mash yields.

Malt analyses sheets don't indicate steep and grow times - a malt labeled as "under-modified" should really be called "chit" or "short grow" and specify the barley variety, steep and grow times for that barley's "short grow" vs. it's normal steep and grow times.  (i.e. short grow - 25 hr. steep, 30% moisture content, 2 day germination @ 56F vs. normal - 40 hr. steep, 42% moisture content, 5 day germination @ 54F).  Of course those formulas may be considered trade secrets by the maltsters.

If chit or short-grow malts are used in the mash a protein rest will be a definite concern.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: HabeasCorpus on April 13, 2020, 07:58:15 pm
Some interesting quotes from Malts and Malting, by Briggs, et. al. that back some of the previous statements/posts in this thread:

1.2 Malting in Outline - pg. 7:

Quote
During germination the grain undergoes 'modification'.  Modification is an imprecise term that signifies all the desirable changes that occur when grain is converted into malt.

2.7 Physical changes occurring in malting barley - pg. 60:

Quote
The extent of acrospire growth and, less usually, rootlet growth are traditional guides to the progress of malting.  Lengths of acrospires are noted, each as a fraction of the grain's length.  Length may be judged by eye, or with the aid of grids mounted on glass or on a magnifying lens.  Thus when the top of the acrospire is 50% of the way 'up the back' its length is 1/2; when it reaches the apex it is 1; if it exceeds the length of the grain it is 1+ (overshot, overgrown, bolter, huzzar).  Traditionally, in the UK, malt was kilned when the average length of the acrospires was between 3/4 and 7/8.  To make the acrospires more easily seen, the grains may be cut or peeled or they may be boiled in a solution of copper sulphate (Chapter 13).

4.2.5 The Embryo - pg. 140:

Quote
The acrospire is retained in finished barley malt, but the rootlets are removed and so, in a sense, are 'lost'.

5.2.4 Temperature-programmed mashing - pg. 232:

Quote
A more recent innovation in brewing is temperature-programmed mashing ('rising-temperature infusion mashing')... For example, a mash made with an under-modified malt or with adjuncts in the grist might be mashed in at 95F and after a 30 min hold it might be warmed to 122F and then after another 30 min hold, to 149F.  After a further 30-45 min, the mash might be warmed to 158F, held for 30 min, then be warmed to 167F for 30 min before transfer to the lauter tun...

For well-modified malt grists, a shorter programme may be employed: for example, with mashing-in at 122F and rests at 122F, 149F and 167F...

5.3 Some aspects of mashing biochemistry - pg. 237:

Quote
The pH values of mashes are adjusted to be the 'best compromise' for the various processes that are going on.

5.3 Some aspects of mashing biochemistry - pg. 239:

Quote
The optimum pH for starch conversion, at mashing temperatures, is about 5.3.

5.3 Some aspects of mashing biochemistry - pg. 242:

Quote
Usually a mash pH of about 5.3 (at mashing temperatures) is desired... The best pH value of a mash is a compromise among optima for the different biochemical processes that occur.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: jeffy on April 14, 2020, 05:16:42 am

Quote
The acrospire is retained in finished barley malt, but the rootlets are removed and so, in a sense, are 'lost'.

So I stand corrected.  I have confused the acrospire with the rootlet.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Silver_Is_Money on April 14, 2020, 06:06:49 am
I'm trying to muster up enough courage/enthusiasm/motivation/desire... to revert to doing a step mash of ~144 degrees followed by ~162 degrees in my cooler/tun.  I was doing step mashes in the early 90's, but got lazy at some juncture and switched to single infusion.  I recall that my beers from back then had better mouthfeel and more maltiness.  But perhaps a good part of that is due to being younger.  I've lost a lot of my sense of smell and taste over the years.

I've written myself a spreadsheet with "solver" assist so I can perform a two step mash in my cooler with any weight of grist at any input of two target "step" temperatures.  Now I need to see if I can develop a spreadsheet that will accomplish a three tier step mash with solver assist.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 14, 2020, 07:56:00 am

Quote
The acrospire is retained in finished barley malt, but the rootlets are removed and so, in a sense, are 'lost'.

So I stand corrected.  I have confused the acrospire with the rootlet.

Which doesn't change the fact that I have almost never seen an acrospire in any malt I've gotten.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 14, 2020, 08:18:54 am

Quote
The acrospire is retained in finished barley malt, but the rootlets are removed and so, in a sense, are 'lost'.

So I stand corrected.  I have confused the acrospire with the rootlet.

Which doesn't change the fact that I have almost never seen an acrospire in any malt I've gotten.

It’s certainly there under the husk.
Title: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: BrewBama on April 14, 2020, 08:19:40 am
If those little ‘shards’ laying on top of the mash after the MLT is drained are the acrospire, I’ve seen them in every mash I’ve done. I circled one from the photo posted by  HabeusCorpus in post # 35  (above).

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200414/728e46aa6c854686cd54bc42078863d9.jpg)

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20200414/e2512b6c27a1290e491b004dfffe08ec.jpg)


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Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 14, 2020, 08:22:02 am
I'm trying to muster up enough courage/enthusiasm/motivation/desire... to revert to doing a step mash of ~144 degrees followed by ~162 degrees in my cooler/tun.  I was doing step mashes in the early 90's, but got lazy at some juncture and switched to single infusion.  I recall that my beers from back then had better mouthfeel and more maltiness.  But perhaps a good part of that is due to being younger.  I've lost a lot of my sense of smell and taste over the years.

I've written myself a spreadsheet with "solver" assist so I can perform a two step mash in my cooler with any weight of grist at any input of two target "step" temperatures.  Now I need to see if I can develop a spreadsheet that will accomplish a three tier step mash with solver assist.

Stepping in a cooler is a real task. You need to know the current temp of the mash, then heat the infusion to the correct temp, then hope everything is at the right temp at the right time, etc.

Step mashing is so easy with a controllable direct heat system that it’s almost an afterthought. I don’t envy someone trying to do it in cooler with hot water infusions.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 14, 2020, 08:51:22 am
I'm trying to muster up enough courage/enthusiasm/motivation/desire... to revert to doing a step mash of ~144 degrees followed by ~162 degrees in my cooler/tun.  I was doing step mashes in the early 90's, but got lazy at some juncture and switched to single infusion.  I recall that my beers from back then had better mouthfeel and more maltiness.  But perhaps a good part of that is due to being younger.  I've lost a lot of my sense of smell and taste over the years.

I've written myself a spreadsheet with "solver" assist so I can perform a two step mash in my cooler with any weight of grist at any input of two target "step" temperatures.  Now I need to see if I can develop a spreadsheet that will accomplish a three tier step mash with solver assist.

Stepping in a cooler is a real task. You need to know the current temp of the mash, then heat the infusion to the correct temp, then hope everything is at the right temp at the right time, etc.

Step mashing is so easy with a controllable direct heat system that it’s almost an afterthought. I don’t envy someone trying to do it in cooler with hot water infusions.

Not that tough.  Just stir in boiling water while you take the temp until you get to where you want to be.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 14, 2020, 09:01:04 am
I'm trying to muster up enough courage/enthusiasm/motivation/desire... to revert to doing a step mash of ~144 degrees followed by ~162 degrees in my cooler/tun.  I was doing step mashes in the early 90's, but got lazy at some juncture and switched to single infusion.  I recall that my beers from back then had better mouthfeel and more maltiness.  But perhaps a good part of that is due to being younger.  I've lost a lot of my sense of smell and taste over the years.

I've written myself a spreadsheet with "solver" assist so I can perform a two step mash in my cooler with any weight of grist at any input of two target "step" temperatures.  Now I need to see if I can develop a spreadsheet that will accomplish a three tier step mash with solver assist.

Stepping in a cooler is a real task. You need to know the current temp of the mash, then heat the infusion to the correct temp, then hope everything is at the right temp at the right time, etc.

Step mashing is so easy with a controllable direct heat system that it’s almost an afterthought. I don’t envy someone trying to do it in cooler with hot water infusions.

Not that tough.  Just stir in boiling water while you take the temp until you get to where you want to be.

I know what you are driving at and in the sense of temp you are correct but volumes can get wacky using that method.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: BrewBama on April 14, 2020, 09:04:30 am
+1. Boiling water infusions sounds easy enough but it rarely worked as advertised for me.


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Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Big Monk on April 14, 2020, 09:27:38 am
+1. Boiling water infusions sounds easy enough but it rarely worked as advertised for me.


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It's easy to control each variable (temp and volume) independently, but I, and others, always run into trouble trying to get them both in line at the same time.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: TXFlyGuy on April 14, 2020, 09:29:56 am
Here is the response I received from Weyermann, this morning...

Hello Bel Air Brewing ,


Thanks or your mail.

It´s great to hear you like our malt so much to brew all your beers with Weyermann® malt.
All our Weyermann® malt are well modified for protein and starch.

You can brew with all our basemalts in infusion way, no need for decoction.

We recommend decoction for pilsner kind of beers.

I added 2 nice recipes from our library to show how to use our malts in infusion way.


Happy brewing with Weyermann® malts
 

Constantin Förtner
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on April 14, 2020, 09:50:26 am
I'm trying to muster up enough courage/enthusiasm/motivation/desire... to revert to doing a step mash of ~144 degrees followed by ~162 degrees in my cooler/tun.  I was doing step mashes in the early 90's, but got lazy at some juncture and switched to single infusion.  I recall that my beers from back then had better mouthfeel and more maltiness.  But perhaps a good part of that is due to being younger.  I've lost a lot of my sense of smell and taste over the years.

I've written myself a spreadsheet with "solver" assist so I can perform a two step mash in my cooler with any weight of grist at any input of two target "step" temperatures.  Now I need to see if I can develop a spreadsheet that will accomplish a three tier step mash with solver assist.

Stepping in a cooler is a real task. You need to know the current temp of the mash, then heat the infusion to the correct temp, then hope everything is at the right temp at the right time, etc.

Step mashing is so easy with a controllable direct heat system that it’s almost an afterthought. I don’t envy someone trying to do it in cooler with hot water infusions.

Not that tough.  Just stir in boiling water while you take the temp until you get to where you want to be.

I know what you are driving at and in the sense of temp you are correct but volumes can get wacky using that method.

I really haven't found that to be a problem.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Silver_Is_Money on April 14, 2020, 10:16:57 am
+1. Boiling water infusions sounds easy enough but it rarely worked as advertised for me.


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It's easy to control each variable (temp and volume) independently, but I, and others, always run into trouble trying to get them both in line at the same time.

I'm currently testing my 3 step mash spreadsheet using "solver".  It resolves the mash thickness and boiling water volumes for each added step such that the precise final volume of water that I calculate for a single infusion mash is also the summed 'overall' water volume result for this 3 step mash spreadsheet.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: TXFlyGuy on April 14, 2020, 10:36:08 am
Direct from the source - Weyermann.
This should help answer your questions:

Mash (Infusion):
Mash in at 62°C (145°F), hold this temperature, 63°C (145°F) and rest for 30 min, hold another break at 68°C (154°F) for 10 minutes, rise up the temperature to 72°C (162°F) and rest for 15 min. Mash out by 78°C (172°F)
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 14, 2020, 10:47:17 am
On the acrospire, on a tour of Motor City Malt, the owner showed the acrospire in a kernel of steeped barley. He held on his index finger and split it open with his two thumbnails. Called it "the blade of grass" as that is what it would become in the field.

On a kilned malt you would need a knife.

In Denny's case, remember he has his mill set as tight as it goes, so they are probably ground up.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: hopfenundmalz on April 14, 2020, 10:47:26 am
On the acrospire, on a tour of Motor City Malt, the owner showed the acrospire in a kernel of steeped barley. He held on his index finger and split it open with his two thumbnails. Called it "the blade of grass" as that is what it would become in the field.

On a kilned malt you would need a knife.

In Denny's case, remember he has his mill set as tight as it goes, so they are probably ground up.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Die Beerery on April 16, 2020, 07:36:12 am

Quote
The acrospire is retained in finished barley malt, but the rootlets are removed and so, in a sense, are 'lost'.

So I stand corrected.  I have confused the acrospire with the rootlet.

Which doesn't change the fact that I have almost never seen an acrospire in any malt I've gotten.

The arcospire is in every piece of grain ever grown. I only ask you be careful with broad brushes.
See #2

(https://i.imgur.com/6gjwSyO.png)

You indeed have seen it, however probably in its powder form. This is also the part of the malt that starts staling the second it sees oxygen from being crushed.

(https://i.imgur.com/KC5bxzu.png)

(https://i.imgur.com/nwGrD9n.png)
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: rx1970 on May 14, 2020, 07:16:14 pm
Thanks for that explanation on modification Denny. You saved me a lot of time trying to figure it out.
Nick
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on October 10, 2021, 05:58:19 am
So...is anyone still debating the potential benefits of a multi-step mash vs. single step vs. decoction?
As Weyermann gave advice on the multi-step (see post #83), we will continue with that when using Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Pils.
Does it add time to the brew day? Yes. Is it painful? No.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on October 10, 2021, 08:31:09 am
So...is anyone still debating the potential benefits of a multi-step mash vs. single step vs. decoction?
As Weyermann gave advice on the multi-step (see post #83), we will continue with that when using Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Pils.
Does it add time to the brew day? Yes. Is it painful? No.

Because it's easy to do with my system, I have done many comparisons between step mashing and single infusion.  I can't tell you I found a difference. I decided many years ago that decoction made so little difference (none, basically) that it wasn't worth the effort. I still occasionally do one to see if I missed something. So far, no.
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: BrewBama on October 10, 2021, 03:23:16 pm
So...is anyone still debating the potential benefits of a multi-step mash vs. single step vs. decoction?
As Weyermann gave advice on the multi-step (see post #83), we will continue with that when using Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Pils.
Does it add time to the brew day? Yes. Is it painful? No.
I think the malt you’re using benefits from the multi-step mash. I am normally using American standard pale or pale ale base malt. If I were using a malt variety that would benefit from temp steps I imagine my process would adapt for that grain bill.

Also, my HERMS PID controller is not programmable. To make temp change I had to change the temp myself. If I had a programmable PID controller I would be more inclined to consider using steps.  Sounds lazy but the constant interaction was a PITA for little if any benefit.



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Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: Bel Air Brewing on October 10, 2021, 06:14:42 pm
So...is anyone still debating the potential benefits of a multi-step mash vs. single step vs. decoction?
As Weyermann gave advice on the multi-step (see post #83), we will continue with that when using Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Pils.
Does it add time to the brew day? Yes. Is it painful? No.
I think the malt you’re using benefits from the multi-step mash. I am normally using American standard pale or pale ale base malt. If I were using a malt variety that would benefit from temp steps I imagine my process would adapt for that grain bill.

Also, my HERMS PID controller is not programmable. To make temp change I had to change the temp myself. If I had a programmable PID controller I would be more inclined to consider using steps.  Sounds lazy but the constant interaction was a PITA for little if any benefit.

Doing the temp steps is a manual procedure for us. Requires very close monitoring. It is easy to overshoot if you do not keep your eyes on it!
Brew day for us is a dedicated event. No other items on the schedule...just beer!
Title: Re: Multi-step mashing...
Post by: denny on October 11, 2021, 08:35:55 am
So...is anyone still debating the potential benefits of a multi-step mash vs. single step vs. decoction?
As Weyermann gave advice on the multi-step (see post #83), we will continue with that when using Weyermann Floor Malted Bohemian Pils.
Does it add time to the brew day? Yes. Is it painful? No.
I think the malt you’re using benefits from the multi-step mash. I am normally using American standard pale or pale ale base malt. If I were using a malt variety that would benefit from temp steps I imagine my process would adapt for that grain bill.

Also, my HERMS PID controller is not programmable. To make temp change I had to change the temp myself. If I had a programmable PID controller I would be more inclined to consider using steps.  Sounds lazy but the constant interaction was a PITA for little if any benefit.

Doing the temp steps is a manual procedure for us. Requires very close monitoring. It is easy to overshoot if you do not keep your eyes on it!
Brew day for us is a dedicated event. No other items on the schedule...just beer!

Yeah, me, too, but I don't see that as a reason to make things more  difficult than they have to be.